It’s Monday! Wanna hear the dumbest, weirdest story ever, at least this week, because the whole world has gone to shit and we’re just swimming in it? You are in for a treat!
On top of Qatar and Ice Cube, the cast of characters in this drama includes Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn and Michael Fucking Cohen, because of course it does. And also Michael Avenatti, because he is in all stories now.
We don’t even know, so we’ll start with the story that came out in the Daily Mail last week, about how Ice Cube and his business partner Jeff Kwatinetz are suing a Qatari investor and royal family member, Ahmed al Rumaihi, for allegedly using his investment in Ice Cube’s basketball league, which is called BIG3, to bribe them for access to Steve Bannon, who is friends with Kwatinetz.
OK, Wonkette, you’re drunk.
Fair point, but try to stay with us.
So, this was all going down when Bannon was working in the White House as Trump’s chief strategist, and also after that when he went back to his old job of blogging at Breitbart and campaigning for failed candidates:
The rapper and Jeff Kwatinetz claim that a Qatari investor in their BIG3 basketball league tried to get access to Bannon when he was Trump’s White House chief strategist – and that the investor was a front for the Qatari government. […]
And Kwatinetz claims that after Bannon had been fired by Trump and left his Breitbart website, the Qatari wanted to set up a meeting with him to offer to ‘underwrite all of his political efforts in return for his support’.
And also, according to Daily Mail, dude “bragged about” bribing other folks in Washington, including known criminal Michael Flynn. Indeed, in response to being told to fuck off by Kwatinetz, dude said, “Do you think [Michael] Flynn turned down our money?” (We think he was implying that Michael Flynn totally took that bribe.)
Regardless, the suit alleges that Qatar didn’t even come through with the money it had agreed to invest, apparently once Kwatinetz and Ice Cube refused to “repay” them by getting them in with Bannon.
BUT WHY THOUGH?
Well long story, and it’s hard to suss it out directly, but Daily Mail quotes the Ice Cube lawsuit about Steve Bannon (which for real exists) saying that Qatar wanted to “get positive public relations” for its country, in return for its investment.
BUT WHY THOUGH?
We don’t know, for fun and profit? Who among us hasn’t bribed a basketball company owned by a famous rapper, in order to get access to Steve Bannon in order to curry favor for our small Arab kingdom? LINE FORMS HERE, Y’ALL.
Surely there is background here.
OK, the background is that Qatar has been having a fight with all its neighbors since forever, ‘specially with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, for a lot of reasons that involve how Qatar’s royal family does not play well with the ruling families of Saudi Arabia and the various emirates. (This is a very dumbed down explanation of the background, and if you want to know more, there is a Washington Post for that. And then there is a BuzzFeed, about how Qatar and UAE are having a vicious PR fight that involves hacking each other’s emails and leaking them to American media, and it is TL;DR so you can probably skip it.)
Last year, foreign policy types were like “WTF?” when the Trump administration decided to join in a Saudi/UAE trade blockade against Qatar, and Donald Trump himself started tweeting horseshit about Qatar being a big state sponsor of terrorism (who isn’t a big state sponsor of terrorism among the Gulf states? Jesus Christ). This was really strange, since Qatar is home to an enormous US military base, and also CENTCOM, which seems kiiiiinda important. It also seemed like a fight we would normally let Middle Eastern nations have among themselves, instead of weighing in and taking sides. But, you know, the Trump administration is brand new at this, which will continue to be their excuse until we finally get them the hell out of office.
Anyway, Trump has flip-flopped and decided Qatar is just great recently. And Qatar has been doing its level best to take advantage of the ignorance of the Trump administration! They’ve been dallying with Jared Kushner, to the point that he always seems to be hitting Qatar up to save his family company’s ass. The nation claims to have “illicit information” about Kushner, but they decided not to tell Robert Mueller about it, because hello they are busy doing Trump administration ass kissing right now, and will only deploy that later if it becomes necessary. (We are guessing. Regardless, the Middle East is simply chock full of sheiks who say they have JK “in their back pocket,” because he’s an idiot in over his head, and also he needs to borrow five dollars AT ALL TIMES.)
Qatar has even set up lobbying/PR efforts with John Ashcroft’s law firm, because why wouldn’t John Ashcroft be in this story too? Before we’re done, we’ll probably have appearances from Jaleel White (TV’s Steve Urkel) and Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders, because why not.
We were promised Michael Avenatti.
Oh yes! So, TURNS OUT Ahmed al Rumaihi has been on the Trump scene longer than the story in this lawsuit would suggest! Michael Avenatti tweeted out pictures of al Rumaihi just cold chillin’ at Trump Tower with Michael Cohen on December 12, 2016, during the transition! Avenatti started by tweeting just the pictures:
Warning ignored. So here it goes.
December 12, 2016 – Trump Tower. Details to follow… pic.twitter.com/aEuuhRHB4a
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 13, 2018
And then he sexplained what we are looking at there:
Why was Ahmed Al-Rumaihi meeting with Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn in December 2016 and why did Mr. Al-Rumaihi later brag about bribing administration officials according to a sworn declaration filed in court?
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 13, 2018
WE DUNNO, maybe he was there during the Trump transition to successfully bribe Michael Flynn, like Mr. Cube’s lawsuit says! And maybe Chucklefucks Cohen, the worst lawyer in the entire world, was in on it. But we are just spitballing here. (Click here for a possible explanation, involving Rosneft, the Russian oil company that features in THE DOSSIER. Guess who bought 19.5% of Rosneft in December 2016? NO, GUESS! It’s a Seth Abramson thread, but meh, occasionally he knows stuff.)
Are you kidding with this story?
Still not kidding.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has been probing the Qatar/United Arab Emirates/Saudi Arabia side of the Trump-Russia scandal for a while now, and it’s always been confusing. But go back and read this post we wrote a while back, about Mueller’s cooperating witness George Nader and the weird meeting in Seychelles between Erik Prince and the Russian, as well as Michael Flynn’s grifty plan to “recolonize” the Middle East and give the spoils to himself, the Trump family and a sackful of Russians.
Will that help put this story in context?
Nah, but it’s something to do.
We’ve said many times that when the full truth comes out about all the crimes Robert Mueller has found, it’s gonna make our heads spin, especially when we learn the true extent of the grift and the bribes and the money laundering. It seems amazing, as we hit the one-year anniversary of the Mueller investigation, but we’re still very much in a place where we’re getting a piece here and a piece there, all parts of a tapestry that is sloooooooooowly but surely coming together. We just don’t know how enormous that tapestry is yet. Mueller does — he’s MANY MONTHS ahead of news reporting.
Also we weren’t expecting part of the tapestry to have Ice Cube on it, but fuck it, it’s 2018, nothing surprises us anymore.
Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter RIGHT HERE.